I had been thinking about telling the story of my father and the pink flamingo but I thought I would have some difficulty illustrating it as I didn’t think that there was much likelihood of coming across the pink flamingo that the story requires. I had just about given up hope and had resigned myself to choosing some other kind of “tacky” garden ornament (maybe a gnome) instead. Then as we were driving along quite close to our house I came across a whole flock of pink flamingos in front of a nearby church. They were perfect!

My father was a very likable person, but he had a quirky sense of humour and could be very stubborn at times. For example he would avoid places that others liked to frequent. Maybe he just disliked crowds, but I don’t think so. Rather I believe his thinking went along these lines: “If they all want to go there I’ll just be awkward and not go – no matter how much I really want to”. Anyway one day he bought this pink flamingo, just like the ones in the picture wire legs and all. It looked pretty awful to begin with but he wasn’t deterred and put it in our front garden. Over time it got worse. First the paint faded and at some point the legs came off so we were left with just the now faded body – a sort of unrecognizable amorphous blob. It lay there for a while, my father refusing to throw it out, but I think he must have thought that just lying there on the ground it was unlikely that anyone would see it. So he picked it up and put it in the crook of a laburnum tree near the entrance to our house where nobody could possibly miss it. And there it remained – year after year. Eventually my father passed away and shortly afterwards my mother and it was left to me to dispose of the house. I believe the flamingo (or what was left of it) was still there in the tree when the house sold. For all I know it’s still there – unlikely though this is as I don’t think the new owners would have felt the same attachment that my father did. Regrettably I don’t think the actual flamingo was ever recorded photographically so those above will have to serve as proxies.

Below – my father and mother. From where he’s standing he would have been able to see what remained of the pink flamingo. I think he would have liked me telling the story. I can see him now sitting in his chair, smoking his pipe with a little twinkle in his eye.

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